Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 23rd Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 30 July 1916
Age: 19
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Although James Norcross originated from the Clitheroe area, his married life with Annie started in Heaton Chapel. They are believed to have married in the Blackpool area in 1891 and their first child, Arthur, was born the following year.

Not long after this, the family moved to Darwen, Lancashire, where James Norcross worked as a banker's clerk. Frank was born there in about 1897. At the time of the 1901 Census, they were living at 49 Sudell Road. The word "clerk" appears to underestimate James' role for his employer as he was successful enough to be able to afford to employ a live-in general servant (21 year old Edith Williams).

When War was declared in 1914, the family had returned to the Stockport area and had been living at 1 Lynton Road, Heaton Moor, for some time. Like his brother, Frank had been educated at Manchester Grammar School and had won a classics scholarship to New College, Oxford. However, like many young men, he decided to enlist in the army and joined the 1st Office Cadet Battalion based at Denham in Buckinghamshire.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 23rd Manchesters on 7 July 1916 so cannot have been at the front for more that a few days before he was killed in action. Unusually, there is no mention of him of him joining the Battalion recorded in its War Diary, nor is there any mention of him becoming a casualty.

On 30 July, the Battalion was in the forward area near the Somme village of Guillemont. Other battalions of the Regiment had orders to attack the German positions in the village. The role of the 23rd Battalion would be to supply carrying parties bringing up reserve supplies of ammunition to the men who had advanced. Initially the attack went quite well and the troops were able to gain a foothold in the village. The men of the 23rd then went to work bringing up new supplies of bullets and grenades. Although not directly facing the enemy fire, it was still quite dangerous as the German artillery was very active in shelling the whole area. As the morning progressed, it became clear that the German positions were very strongly held and were being reinforced. The British attack could not be pressed further and there was no option but to retreat. As the leading battalions withdrew back to the British trench line, the men of the 23rd also helped to man the trenches in case there was a German counter-attack.

Like his brother a year later, Frank's body was never recovered and identified.

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window